Head of Merah Putih Hijau Foundation
I not only get a chance to lead others like me who are dedicated to serving the planet, but I also get to meet thousands of local people, to train them to be their own eco champions for their communities.
Tell us your story – how did you get here?
Born and raised on the island of Bali, I have always been aware of the beauty that our island can offer. But as a local who lives close to the villages and is part of a big family and a banjar, I knew that there were also challenges we were facing. Something was off when we were taught about the concept of Tri Hita Karana; so much of what we consume and the waste that comes with it goes directly to the planet, feeding tons and tons of it to Mother Earth.
Graduating from Bogor Agricultural University, I dived directly into a job where I felt would help me become useful to the planet, that is at the Green School. There, I realised that there are people like me, who are also passionate about caring for the environment. That there is a big movement that I can be a part of. From sustainability audits, to planting bamboo with younger generations, and raising my voice to speak up about the issues we are facing, the foundations for my deep passion for sustainability began.
Today, as the Head of the Foundation of Yayasan Bumi Sasmaya, or you might know it as, Merah Putih Hijau, I not only get a chance to lead others like me who are dedicated to serving the planet, but I also get to meet thousands of local people, to train them to be their own eco champions for their communities. 15 villages, hundreds of empowered local women, and thousands of locals who I have worked with directly in trying to solve this waste problem: it is both rewarding and satisfying.
Through Merah Putih Hijau, together with my Founder, Sean Nino, we have created a pathway to potential solutions for our waste issue. We gather funds to build waste facilities, we educate, we empower and we sustain a system that works for all.
I meet with government officials, I sit in meetings, and I enjoy seeing that there are changes coming, for the better. I will always continue to become an ambassador for Bali, for I always want to share this island with the rest of the world. But that can only happen if we protect, and care for it.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am most proud when I can sit and shake the hands of the government officials, knowing that they too, believe in creating a change and making a difference. I am humbled to sit with them and discuss not about the problem, not about the past, but how we can move forward, and how we can involve the people of Bali to rise together and make an impact.
I am also proud when I get to speak to other Balinese people like me, who are so passionate about wanting to make a difference but don’t know how. Because it truly takes someone to first want to learn, in order for me to be able to convince them.
What impact have you made in Bali?
The 15 villages we have worked with include mostly women to maintain the facilities that we at Merah Putih Hijau have built for them. Seeing these housewives – who spend their days caring for their family – who now have an actual job in their village, is not only satisfying to me, it’s actually groundbreaking in what we do. Through these facilities, we create a sustainable system that benefits the environment and the people of the village. We get to educate children from local schools, to physically show them how things are done in our facilities, and the solutions that are offered right in front of their very eyes. This has been so fulfilling for me.
What does 2022 look like for you?
In 2022, I hope that our communities in Bali have learned through the challenging times of the pandemic, that there is so much more in Bali that needs protection and guarding: our lands, our farmers, our crops, and our agriculture. For me, as someone who is a visionary, I look forward to growing these opportunities for people to appreciate the agriculture Bali offers, while continuing to advocate for our waste issues.
What do you love most about Bali?
Bali is one of the only places in the world where ancient traditions are sustained, and where the people here, wherever they come from, can be a part of this culture if they choose to.
What's one thing everyone can do to protect our home planet?
Whatever it is, no matter how simple, you can do it at home, because it starts there. Putting your waste in the right place and separating the waste in your homes is a great start to begin making a difference.
Who is your Local Legend and why?
My local legend is my partner and the love of my life, miss Kania Maniasa. She has inspired me and she has also been an advocate for sustainability since her arrival in Bali, after growing up in the United States. She has shown a love for her island by coming back home to make a difference. Now, as the Head of the Green School Bali Foundation, she’s supporting local Balinese kids to have a better education. An education that can change the world.